Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fail to report...fail to help

I blogged before about people who fail to report animal abuse and think that perhaps it's someone else's job, or that animal control/the sheriff somehow has some amazing right to search anybody's property without a warrant or any probable cause to find the starving animals. When I did that, I said I wanted to hear from AC officers and other officials who had encountered this problem. And I did!

"I am an Animal Control Officer in Canada. While I only have jurisdiction through our dog control bylaw I get calls ALL the time about abused/neglected animals. We do not have an SPCA in our area so the RCMP is the authority who can do something under the SPCA Act. I have to agree, 90% of the 'concerned' people who call, won't give their names and won't make the call to the RCMP for further investigation. These callers need to understand that often times Animal Control Officer's powers are limited. People NEED to stand up for what they believe in. I believe if a person knows of a situation that is putting an animal at risk for abuse and/or neglect they need to speak up and if they don't - they play a part in that animal's demise. What is there to be afraid of? Helping an animal escape some torture?? I don't get humans.

I myself have come across a couple of cases of abuse and neglect and have reported it to the RCMP. If you do report something to the police, it is best to go in person and get a file number so you have some assurance something will be done. The worst case scenario, you go to court and give your evidence. That's it. People need to get their heads out of their arses, stand up for what's right and maybe these terrible cases of abuse/neglect will decrease."

Another story:

"The very first time I went to court on a neglect case was in 2001 or 2002 in Texas. We had received a report of neglected horses, and the deputies would not allow us to go on the property with them as they had had problems with owner before. They went on the property, picked the horses up and we helped prepare for court. We received 2 fillies who were both in body condition of 1.0. They had both been adopted from the SPCA

about a year earlier in body condition score of 5.0. We also picked up one stallion in body condition of about 1.0 and a second stallion who was about 2.5 to 3.0 in body condition.
When we went to court, the judge agreed with the vet's assessment and my assessment of the horses and awarded all four to the rescue I ran at the time. After court, a volunteer and I stayed to talk to the county attorney and judge who heard the case. The judge introduced us to one of the county commissioners who was in the building. The county commissioner looked at us and said, 'Well, its about time someone did something about those horses.' Again, these horses didn't die - but the three in body condition of 1.0 were not far off and took months and months of rehab. This county commissioner went to the court house all the time, knew the judge, knew the county attorney, knew the deputies. He could have easily reported this since he knew the horses needed help. But he never did. That one just kills me."

And another:

In east Texas, we were called about a case involving nearly 40 registered Quarter Horses and Paint Horses. We removed all horses and luckily the only horses to die were two miscarried twins (which may have been a result of the mare's condition or may have been because twins are hard to carry). However while we were seizing the horses, people kept stopping at the location and telling us how much they appreciated us "finally doing something". These people had been watching these horses losing weight and going downhill, and not ONE reported it."

And here is what happens when you do report. In this case, a veterinarian reported his clients and good thing or there'd be more than four dead.

Starving horses rescued from Gemstone Arabians (the one in Ohio, that name gets used a lot!)

I also heard from a lot of you who DID report and nothing was done. Yes, this happens. But hold up your end and at least you can sleep at night knowing that you did what you could. Every jurisdiction is different and if you live in a "good ol' boy" county, it's going to be harder to get the job done, but animal abusers are prosecuted every day even in your state - you don't have to live in a super progressive city to get action. Sometimes you just have to be persistent. Please do it anyway. I know it's a PITA but you may be the only one who has noticed the horse(s)' condition and if you're not the only one, multiple reports go a long way toward ensuring action is taken.